SOURCE: FetchDog

FetchDog

February 26, 2009 08:00 ET

FetchDog Kicks Off Sales of New Dog Toy to Benefit Program for Injured American Soldiers

Red, White and Blue 'Chewy Shoe' Toy Will Help Support Puppies Behind Bars Initiative

PORTLAND, ME and NEW YORK, NY and NORTH BROOKFIELD, MA--(Marketwire - February 26, 2009) - FetchDog, a Portland-based company dedicated to serving the comprehensive needs of passionate dog owners, today announced the introduction of a new dog toy that will help benefit a program for injured American veterans. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the company's special edition "Chewy Shoe" will support Dog Tags: Service Dogs for Those Who've Served Us, an initiative of Puppies Behind Bars. The new toy will be available for purchase exclusively at FetchDog.com and through FetchDog's catalog beginning March 9.

The Dog Tags Chewy Shoe features a real red, white and blue shoe sole with a tough throwing/pulling cord for maximum playtime fun. It is made of rugged natural rubber by Vibram Pet Products, made exclusively in the United States by Quabaug Corporation, the company that provides the majority of the shoe soles currently in use by the U.S. military. FetchDog and Vibram will each contribute $1 for every sale of the new Chewy Shoe to support Dog Tags, a program that provides service dogs for disabled veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Proceeds from sales of the toy will help fund the training of approximately 20 dogs this year.

Puppies Behind Bars launched the Dog Tags service dogs program in 2006 to help injured veterans cope with the challenges of their daily lives. The specially trained Golden and Labrador Retrievers can perform tasks such as opening and closing doors, assisting with grocery shopping and retrieving food from the refrigerator. For veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the dogs are trained to remind their companions to take medications and to help them cope with anxiety as they proceed through their daily routines.

"Personal security became a major issue for me when I came back from Iraq," said Sergeant Bill Campbell, an Army veteran with a diagnosis of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury from his service in Baghdad. Under the Dog Tags program, Puppies Behind Bars paired Campbell with a Yellow Lab named Pax, and flew him to Colorado for special training with his new canine partner. "Pax alerts me if anything is out of the ordinary and literally watches my back. Because of that, I'm sleeping better and I can now participate in hobbies like running and photography that I hadn't felt safe doing since I came back. He's a part of the family now."

Like all Puppies Behind Bars dogs, Pax was trained by inmates at New York City-area correctional institutions. Through the program, incarcerated trainers learn teamwork and empathy while living and working with the puppies over the course of 18 months until they are ready for the next phase of their training at other locations.

"In the nearly 12 years since we founded Puppies Behind Bars, we have raised almost 500 dogs that are now assisting disabled children and adults, as well as detecting explosives for law enforcement agencies," said Gloria Gilbert Stoga, founder and president, Puppies Behind Bars. "During that time, I have learned a lot about dogs and even more about the human spirit. The joy that comes from working with these dogs -- for both the inmate trainers and the eventual companions -- has been incredible to witness. The proceeds FetchDog and Vibram are generously donating from sales of the Chewy Shoe will help us continue this important work."

Gilbert Stoga founded Puppies Behind Bars in 1997 to raise guide dogs for the blind, adding the training of explosive detection dogs following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. In 2006, the group started raising dogs to assist disabled and autistic children and disabled adults, expanding to launch the Dog Tags program for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan the same year. Dog Tags has received public support from well-known Americans including actors Glenn Close and James Gandolfini.

About FetchDog.com

FetchDog is an emerging market leader for catalog shopping and Internet media in the rapidly growing $38 billion pet products category. FetchDog was created to offer passionate dog people a place to find the highest-quality dog supplies, credible advice on their dog's health and wellness, and an online community of fellow humans who love their dogs.

More than just a shopping site, FetchDog.com has thousands of ad-free pages of deep information about health issues, training, behavior, breed selection, puppy care and dog adoption. Always current and fresh, FetchDog.com also has dog features and news stories, expert and celebrity blogs, world-class dog photography, games, videos and community-oriented centers for hundreds of dog breeds.

About Puppies Behind Bars

Puppies Behind Bars trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for the disabled and explosive detection canines for law enforcement. The puppies live in prison with their puppy raisers from the age of eight weeks to 18 months. As the puppies mature into well-loved, well-behaved dogs, their raisers learn what it means to contribute to society rather than take from it. For more information, please visit www.puppiesbehindbars.com.

About Quabaug Corporation and Vibram

Quabaug Corporation is the North American manufacturer of Vibram products under exclusive license. Quabaug Corporation, located in North Brookfield, Mass., employs 300 people and manufactures Vibram® shoe soling and QuaBoing® resilient rubber surfacing.

Quabaug Corporation also offers dog toys, training tools, leashes and collars in its line of Vibram® Pet Products. These include Vibram® balls, sticks, discs and the Shooey Chewie sole, which are all molded in the USA using clean rubber that is nitrosamine-free.

Vibram is a registered trademark of Vibram S.p.A of Italy. Vibram is the world leader in high performance rubber soles, targeted to the outdoor, work, recreation, fashion, repair and orthopedic markets. Visit www.vibram.us to learn more about Vibram soles and other products.

Contact Information